Finnish Petroleum and Biofuels Association: Advanced biofuels are a good method for reaching climate goals

Press release 11 Oct 2016

The Finnish Petroleum and Biofuels Association believes that the Government goal to increase the share of renewable fuels in road traffic to 40 per cent by 2030 is fair. This ambitious goal can be achieved if the operating environment of biofuel production remains predictable.

-Now more than ever, sustainable, goal-oriented policies are needed, both domestically and within EU, to stabilise the operational environment and encourage investment in new production sites, says Helena Vänskä, Managing Director of the Finnish Petroleum and Biofuels Association.

Vänskä remarks that Finland has a leading biofuels industry, which develops and produces top-quality products for both domestic use and export. -Domestic policies and international legislation have played a significant role in this development. The role of a predictable and encouraging operating environment is further highlighted, when the challenging goals for 2030 are undertaken. 

Vänskä emphasises that sustainably produced biofuels are a very effective method for the national economy to reduce road traffic emissions; the biofuels industry increases Finland's GDP and biofuels reduce traffic emissions cost-efficiently. Biofuels suit the vehicles currently in operation and distribution systems do not require any changes.

The equal and environmentally guiding taxation of fuels is a key issue

Energy taxation is one of the most important and effective management methods for creating an equal, competition-neutral operating environment. Significant deviations from energy taxation principles inevitably lead to favouring some forms of energy and erode the consistency of the taxation model. The Finnish Petroleum and Biofuels Association believes that differing tax treatment of different forms of energy distorts competition and reduces economic efficiency.

-Finland's advanced fuel excise duty policies should continue to guide emissions and any included exceptions that distort competition should be eliminated. Taxation should be further developed to make it more technology neutral, where one alternative is not favoured over another one with similar emissions. Overall, for the national economy and use of tax revenues, it is best to promote traffic solutions that result in the greatest impact on emissions in relation to the spent tax revenue. This is an important principle, when decisions are being made on future traffic, reiterates Vänskä.

Comprehensive raw material base and counting rules need to be preserved

According to the Finnish Petroleum and Biofuels Association, it is important to preserve the comprehensive base of raw materials in the production of sustainable biofuels in the European Union. The currently used raw materials fulfil the strict sustainability criteria of the European Union and revising the sustainability directive or other regulations should not result in more restrictive sustainability criteria.

-EU is currently engaging in troubling discussion on the interpretation of the waste directive and waste hierarchy, among others. It is our view that the use of waste raw materials to produce any entirely new product should always be considered recycling, including biofuels. There is no justifiable reason for taking an unfavourable position towards biofuels in comparison to other industrial products. Advanced biofuels are necessary to reach the climate goals. In addition, their production processes also produce a lot of other bioproducts, such as biochemicals and biomaterials, Vänskä remarks.

-In addition, it must be ensured that regulations on, for example, the double counting of raw materials based on waste, residue, and lignocellulose remain unchanged. If the counting rules were to change in the 2020s, the goal set for renewables should be re-evaluated, Vänskä explains.

Biofuels produced from certain raw materials can be double counted towards the biofuel distribution goal in use in Finland, because their life cycle emissions are up to 80-90% lower than those of fossil fuels.

A diverse tool kit is needed to reduce traffic pollution

According to Vänskä, however, it is a fact that the pollution reduction goals by 2030 will not be achieved with a single method: a diverse tool kit is necessary, which includes improving the efficiency of the traffic system, in addition to low-emission vehicles and energy sources.  

Improvements in energy efficiency have resulted in new combustion engines producing very little emissions and development is still on-going. For low-emission fuels and technologies, a phased approach should be adopted, in order of cost-efficiency: biofuels are a ready solution, the number of hybrid vehicles in particular is expected to increase over the next few years, and vehicles using alternative energy sources will become more common in the longer term.

Eventful energy year discussed at seminar

At the Energy Seminar held on 11 October, organised by the Finnish Petroleum and Biofuels Association, the events of the busy energy year were discussed, in addition to dialogue on methods to achieve the energy efficiency and emission goals.

The seminar took place during the Energy Awareness Week. The new energy efficiency agreements, such as the Höylä IV agreement of oil sector, are going to be signed at the end of the Energy Awareness Week.

Further information: Helena Vänskä, Managing Director, Finnish Petroleum and Biofuels Association, tel. +358 (0)40 581 6786

Finnish Petroleum and Biofuels Association is the collective industry association that represents the interests of its members.  The mission of the Association is to actively promote responsible use of liquid fuels and contribute to a sustainable energy future, while forging a favourable operating environment for it´s members. The Oil Industry Service Centre Ltd, owned by the association, executes the energy efficiency agreement Höylä III and carries out industry-wide environmental and education projects. Website www.oil.fi

Finnish Petroleum and Biofuels Association | Unioninkatu 22 | 00130 Helsinki  |  Finland  | office@oil.fi